Posts Tagged ‘Soup Dragons’

hifi sean

Hifi Sean is one of East London’s most loved and most prolific musicians of the past couple decades. Having cut his teeth as the lead singer of nineties Scottish rock band The Soup Dragons, Sean went on to form The High Fidelity and become a widely successful DJ in London and beyond. This year has seen the release of his brilliant debut album Ft, with a who’s who of special guests worthy of a dream dinner party guest list! We are thrilled to have him join us for the latest edition of Pump!

Hifi Sean! It’s been a while since we last talked, how have you been?

Hi! I’ve been on promo duties with the new album and working on more little movies for tracks and running the record label Plastique Recordings and sorting future releases – all exciting artistic meanderings for the next few months!

You have been up to all kinds of things this year – releasing a debut album among other things, congratulations!

Thanks. The reviews and critical acclaim for it have all been amazing, and I’m so happy to see the finished work all connecting with people after the many years it has taken to put it all together .

There are some incredible collaborations on the new album – Yoko Ono, Bootsy Collins, Fred Schneider… How did you get involved with these incredible artists?

It was a family tree of things to be honest – each one different to the other in that respect. For instance, Bootsy Collins I know from when I was in my band Soup Dragons. We toured with Deee-Lite and he was playing bass for them and we became good friends. I recorded a track in the nineties with him so when making this album I thought it would be great to do something again. Fred from B-52s I know also from the band days, so yeah I suppose it was the rock ‘n’ roll network of artists who all connect with each other’s friends and friends of friends who know friends of friends… I am just really honoured to have worked with such amazing artists from my record collection!

Who else is still on your dream collaboration list?

I had a note on my phone and I kept writing mind flashes down and this is some of those that are on it from when I was making the album… 
People like Wayne Coyne (The Flaming Lips) to Carly Simon to Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth) to Neil Diamond to Francois Hardy… It’s a very long list and goes on and on!

Can you tell us a bit about the song writing process? Was most of it done in person, or did it involve a lot of correspondence?

I did a lot of travelling making this album as I recorded the sessions and worked with the artists building the tracks over time ’til we were happy. 
It was recorded in London, NYC, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington DC, Cincinnati , Toronto and Glasgow.



Wow, quite the international release!! Now that the album is out, what do the next six months hold in store for you?

I am writing and recording the next album at the moment which I would say sounds as good if not even better than this album. It is all based and named after something I saw scrawled on a toilet wall which is not only the title but the next album cover – once again capturing a life experience and putting it to work on my own material .

What do you make of all this talk of London’s dying nightlife?

Obviously Fabric was a kick in the nuts for club culture driven by fat cat money maker council developers , but things will always bubble underground and new things will appear and new scenes start.

I have never been busier playing some great parties and things look healthy to me, but what does annoy me is the telephone app culture. Get off your phones, get out, cruise and dance with real people and enjoy the moment instead of searching on your phone for a better moment that is never going to be there!

Can you give us a bit of an idea what to expect at Pump?

Dirty twisted house music with a few italo disco injections for the funk of it.


Catch Hifi Sean at Pump on Saturday 5 October from 9pm-3am at Dalston Superstore.  

Hifi Sean In NYC

By Hifi Sean

Many Glaswegians like myself have a big thing for NYC. I grew up, along with many of my friends, influenced by the sound of the bands that came from there like The Velvet Underground, The Ramones, Blondie, Suicide, and Talking Heads. So during the early ‘90s I basically spent most of my time in USA after the success we had with The Soup Dragons over there.

DIVINE

That success includes the top 20 hit single Divine Thing, which yes, for the record was influenced by John Waters and his movies, in fact we even spoke to John back then about shooting a video for the follow up Pleasure, which we were all excited about, but Serial Mom had just been released and really took off, so sadly he had to put it on the back burner and time was against us. That is still my biggest regret that it slipped away. So instead off we went to a ‘50s trashy hotel called Madonna Inn just north of San Francisco, in good ole Russ Meyer fashion.

Most of this period was spent with me living on and off in New York, East Village to be exact. It was crazy and hedonistic times, I saw and experienced things that have influenced me and still cherish many of the memories and the people I met there and then.

Limelight, Disco 2000, Sound Factory, Club USA, The Roxy, Save The Robots, Jacqui 60’s, they were all clubs I frequented. I wasn’t even gay then, but let’s just say the groundwork had been laid out in front of me for my coming out in 2001!

SOUND FACTORY PUNCH

I loved the freedom and the outrageous fun attitude, in fact first time I ever went to Sound Factory I was ushered into a room and offered some punch from the infamous punch bowl laced with E! The next 6-8 hours was a musical journey via Junior Vasquez, which introduced me to something that opened up my mind to new exciting avenues of sound and beats… which still to this day is imbedded in my psyche.

I was in The Roxy when the DJ (I can’t remember who) played the first ever play of Vogue by Madonna, and people stood in awe as he announced it over the system and they cheered as it played. That’s something I have never heard or seen in a club ever again.

CLUB KIDS

Also happening at the same time was the whole ‘Club Kids’ phenomena. It was interesting to watch it grow as we had just left a rave-tastic UK 89/90 and here we were in NYC 90/91 and watching the same chaos and freedom happening there but primarily focused on the gay scene, which took that vibe deep to heart. I actually met Michael Alig and supposedly I met Angel too (as he was host for many of his parties). I hung around a lot of drag queens too as my closest friend at the time Lavinia Co-Op used to take me to clubs; many a time I found myself pushing a huge balloon dress into and out of NYC cabs as we headed out into nightlife. Lavinia is on the cover of the last Soups album dressed as a poodle walked by a Wall St gentleman banker…. as you do. 

Soup Dragons - Hydrophonic

BUFFALO GALS GO ROUND THE OUTSIDE

Everywhere in NYC you saw the influence of club land coming out onto the streets through fashion and attitude which to be honest NYC has always been about. When we made the video for Divine Thing with director Nick Egan, who I got on-board as I loved his video for Buffalo Gals by Malcolm McLaren (another homage to NYC) and we went round the city’s clubland and got some of the club kids and party people to appear in a kind of homage to downtown NYC. We shot it in a disused warehouse in the Meat Packing district overnight, watching trans* hookers on corners pick up truckers delivering the meat to the stores that morning.

It’s funny, as I write this out now, I think to myself, wow how gay was I for a straight boy?! I just loved it all, the chaos, the hedonism; put it this way I wasn’t singing “I’m free to do what I want” on every bloody radio in the USA for nothing… 

Don’t be afraid of your freedom… indeed.

Little did we know how that video was about to explode, MTV went crazy for it and it was the most played video of that year on that channel and ended up being nominated for a MTV Video Award. 

Crazy thing is, I was told afterwards how ground-breaking it was, as people like Connie Girl were the first drag artists to be given daytime rotation on T.V in the USA which, back in early 90’s, was nowhere near as open minded as it is now. Funny that it was shot like Nick shot Buffalo Gals, totally about the streets, the nightlife, guerilla style and all just edited together afterwards, nothing pre-fashioned or contrived, just honest to good love of life at that period, and to me it captures a perfect moment of what NYC was all about then. 

UP YOURS

So what has this got to do with Up Yours you’re asking?

Well myself and Severino have a big mutual love for NYC, we’ve both DJ’ed there a lot over the years and our last two singles London and Devil were released on the great underground house label Get Up Recordings that’s ran by DJs Christy Love and W. Jeremy Pelser from House of Stank, who’ve ran many a great party in the big apple. 

Not to mention, our video for London is a homage to everything cool about London/NYC. Yes the city has changed and cleaned up a lot over the years. Yes a lot of the big parties closed down due to the crystal meth epidemic within the gay scene and people just staying home at sex parties rather than heading out to cruise and have a dance.

But in the last four to five years lots of great thing are happening again and a whole new underground of great artists, DJs and parties are bubbling away and NYC has got that great buzz again that everyone thought it had lost… but we knew it would get back again.

Join Hifi Sean and Severino for Up Yours this Saturday 31st May at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 3am.

Up Yours!

Up Yours, the cheekily named side project from Horse Meat Disco’s Severino and HiFi Sean makes it way from the record to the club as they launch it as a brand new night at Dalston Superstore this weekend! They’ll go head to head in the newly refurbished basement, showcasing their combined passion for all things H.O.U.S.E. whilst upstairs special guests Feral is Kinky and The Lovely Jonjo (Hot Boy Dancing Spot) will be ramping up the party vibes!

Ahead of Saturday’s Superstore soiree, we asked HiFi Sean and Sev to interview each other! 

SEV asks HIFI SEAN…

Sev: When did you start DJing after your indie band experience?

Sean: I’ve kinda always dabbled in DJing even throughout The Soup Dragons; The High Fidelity days with little slots here and there but it was Record Playerz, a club I ran with Alan Miller (DJ Hush Puppy) back in 2000 for 6-7 year,s that I really got lost in beats and mixing skills.

Are you missing been in a band?

Sometimes I do, but I think that man inside and the creativity within will never leave me, and DJing fulfils that, but as you know we make records as Up Yours and I make my own too and that completely satisfies the artistic need within myself. 

Why “Up Yours?”

Because its a loaded phrase!

Are you making music apart from the Up Yours project?

Oh yeah, I’m doing a series of Hifi Sean ‘featuring’ another artist which will all start being released in 2013. So far I have recorded in Chicago with Celeda, and NYC with Fred Schneider from The B-52s, and I’ve got more planned too.

Plus I have ALWAYS promised that second Omnichord album by The High Fidelity 

Only 13 years between them but hey… been busy !

Are you looking forward to our Dalston Superstore gig?

Love that venue, so much natural and eclectic energy. Proper underground clubbing. Up Yours is gonna make that basement SWEAT.

HIFI SEAN asks SEV…

Sean: How long have you DJ’d for and how long have you lived in London?

Sev: I started DJing in my local disco club in Italy when I was 16 years old but I guess I wanted to be a DJ when I was 7…And I moved to London in 1997.

If you were to live anywhere else where would it be ?

OMG soo many places… NYC for the energy and similarity with London… Lisbon and Rome are both beautiful…Venice is my fave but maybe when I’ll be 60 ahahah! Paris too, and IBIZA as well. 

What for you makes the perfect house record ?

For me, it’s mainly the groove. It has to be something very sexy, and of course melody as well.

Dalston Superstore we both love , what makes it different from the other venues you /we play ?

Sexy basement with a fun DJ booth and great crowd. It’s super easy and very well mixed.

I’m in NYC at moment and it’s the weekend… Where should I go tonight ?

OMG my second home for nightlife. Definitely Vandam on Sunday. 11-11 on Friday. And Output in Brooklyn for the sound system and the experience of a big club.

New single The Devil EP is out now.

Join Severino and HiFi Sean at Up Yours this Saturday 2nd November at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 3am.